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« Lime Pie with Gingersnap Crust (via Magnolia Bakery) | Pie Month | Main | Pork Confit Pie with Creme Fraiche Potatoes and Puff Pastry (via Pork & Sons Cookbook) | Pie Month »

The Perfect Pie Crust and Raspberry Pie with Twice-Baked Crust (via Melissa Clark) | Pie Month

This is the 10th entry in our Month of Pie. Pie Month is a celebration of things we love. Because life is hard, and there should always be more pie. Have a look at the other entries. Really. 
Pie #4 - Peanut Butter Cream Pie with Chocolate Whipped Cream
Pie #5 - Butterscotch Cream Pie with Gingersnap Crust and Cashew Brittle
Pie #6 - Banana Cream Pie with Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust
Pie #7 - Chocolate Kahlua Pie
Pie #8 - Bacon and Egg Pizza
Pie #9 - Pork Confit Pie with Creme Fraiche Potatoes and Puff Pastry

The very foundation of pie has always proved my Achilles heel. 

I can’t make crust. Karen can, and her crusts are always perfect. It’s kind of offensive, really, when your wife can make a pie crust that is 100x better than your own, especially when you, I, try so hard to get it right. And for years, I swore off homemade crusts, and just purchased them pre-made, ready to bake.

But no more. No more shall my crusts hang in sorrow. No more shall I wince when pie tasters ask how I made my crust. No more pie crust shame, my friends, no more crust shame.

My new secret weapon of a crust comes straight from Melissa Clark, writer of all things wonderful. Melissa is a new friend of ours on Twitter, and she’s the best thing that’s happened to our family in recent memory. Her latest book, In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite, is so very special, and it made loads of “best of 2010” cookbooks lists. Deservedly. Her writing is wickedly perfect, thoughtful, funny, spot-on happy. Every one of her pieces is a discovery for her. And you want to go on every one of those journeys with her.

If you’re not reading her column in the NYTimes, you’re missing something special.

And if you’re not making her crusts, you life is empty and so very sad.

This crust, all butter or with a cut of animal fat (duck fat in our case), is flakier than you deserve. Simple as anything you’ve ever made in a food processor. Not at all fussy and no work at all (yes, you roll it out later, but that builds character). No soggy bottoms to boot. Really, she deserves thanks from all the pie-eating world for perfecting the crust.

And then her cherry pie recipe with a twice-baked crust. Reading her account of making a delightful recipe even better made me want to try my hand at it, too. But there were no sour cherries to be found, unless I wanted to spend a fortune to buy 10 pounds of cherries and have them shipped to our house (I did, but I knew better than to raise it with Karen). 

So on a whim at the grocery store, I grabbed a few bags of frozen raspberries, wondering if I might substitute them for the cherries. Raspberry pie in the middle of winter seemed like a swell fantasy. Now to see if we could make it a reality...

Melissa’s recipe calls for kirsch or brandy. Since we were using raspberries, Chambord seemed like a good substitute. Karen’s favorite drink is a take on a kir royale (we use Prosecco and Chambord, which seems more than fine). So Chambord is always on hand here. 

And because of the juciness of frozen raspberries which seem to gush red tears everywhere, I added in the full amounth of ground up instant tapioca.

The results? The most wonderful, thrilling raspberry pie. You must. You must make this.

In Melissa’s recipe, she calls for circles of cut out dough to be placed on top, forming a beautiful double crust. Given that we have yet to put away the holiday cookie cutters and we had no circular cutters, my choices were a star, a Christmas tree, Santa, or a candy cane. I opted for the star, channeling my inner county fair pie maker. A little cream dabbed on each star, a little sugar for a punch of shine. It could be July 4th, even in the dead of winter.

So this is a thank you note to Melissa Clark, for wonderful writing, perfect pie crusts, and the inspiration and encouragement to go make great food.

recipe | The best pie crust ever from Melissa Clark
recipe | Use Melissa's Sour Cherry Pie recipe exactly, but substitute an equal amount of frozen raspberries for the cherries, Chambord for the brandy/kirsch, and use the full amount of tapioca

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Reader Comments (23)

Excuse me while I pick myself up off the floor. Gorgeous pie, and I love how the filling looks so red.

January 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShaina

Oh my! That is a great looking pie!

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterravienomnoms

I can't believe I haven't thought of using duck fat in a pie crust. I LOVE, LOve, Love, love, lovE loVE, lOVE, LOVE duck fat almost as much as I adore bacon fat. That being said...I have some at home. Hmmmm, snowy afternoon culinary project seems to be calling my name for after work :) Thanks for the inspiration

Heidi at

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi C. Normand

Oh my goodness! That looks perfectly delicious and like such a treat on winter day.

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen H

I love raspberries so this pie is on my list to try.

This pie may be my favorite even though I haven't eaten it yet nor is Pie Month over. It appears to be perfection. Why, oh why, did it come a day after I went to the grocery store? Raspberry delight will have to wait for another day.

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjen

That is a gorgeous pie, to say the least. Glad you found a way around your problems with crust. I used to buy the pre-made too, and always wondered why I never really liked the taste. Then started making my own...they don't look perfect but the taste can't be beat!

January 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

What a beautiful pie!I hate making crust, it always takes me about 4 tries before I get one that I can use!

January 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaire Gallam

I saw your tweet about the duck fat crust and I had to come see for myself! The idea is sinful, but amazing. You have also inspired me to make my own crust..I am always too lazy and/or nervous that something won't turn out right. The raspberries sound like a great idea, they are one of my favorite berries!
I can't wait to see what else will be coming out of your kitchen.

January 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBigFatBaker

I've got a bit of duck fat and I've been trying to find a home for it. I think pie crust is it! This pie looks amazing.

Congrats on mastering the crust. It looks fabulous as does that gorgeous filling. I have a linky party on my blog every week called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by this weekend and link this up.

January 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Just beautiful! And, great tips on perfect crust.

January 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ My Kitchen Addiction

Lovely pie! Mouth-watering photos! Love the colors! Will try this one very soon.
Just annoyed to find out that American "Kir Royale" is actually Kir Imperial! I will need a few Kir Royal to get over it!

January 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAbizatilna

Melissa Clark is my new hero. I have a love for her new book like no other. I could not agree with you more! Great looking pie you've got there too :)

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKudos Kitchen

I love little shapes on a pie! It's so decadent. Thanks for sharing the recipe using frozen fruit, living on the East Coast, fresh cherries etc. can be so expensive!!

January 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersprinkling of sugar

This looks so amazing! If I hadn't already decided on something else for my birthday dessert this would have been it! Yum! Congrats on making it into the Top 9!

January 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

My mouth is watering...yum. Definitely a keeper. Thank you.

January 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStormy @LaMaoomba

Duck fat in a pie crust. YES PLEASE. My mother made a pie much like this more than 20 years ago. It still comes to me in my dreams. Sigh.

January 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commentereonyc

Ooh, I just saw this in the sidebar of my blog. Yum! I've never had raspberry pie-it looks so good. Plus, I love the stars. I have the cookie cutter too. It's a good one;)

January 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStella

I got here through the FoodBuzz featured posts... I saw the photo and just couldn't resist.

That looks like the most delicious pie ever made! :)


January 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFi @ sparkling snowflake

I love that twice-baked cherry pie recipe from Melissa and have baked it with the sour cherries picked from our local farm. I also love your raspberry pie version and how you made the top crust in stars. I usually make a raspberry pie from a recipe from "In the Sweet Kitchen" that uses cassis, it is delectable. I would imagine chambord to be delicious too.

January 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBasia

Raspberry is my ALL time favorite pie! Your is stunning with the little stars. My pie crust is darn good, but that's it, just good. I'm eager to give this one a try! Thanks for the tips! Congrats on a very well deserved Top 9!! Nicely done.

January 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKim - Liv Life

Thanks for this great recipe and post. I am having a pie party soon and was searching on line for raspberry pie ideas (I also think raspberries in winter sound fabulous) thanks for the great pie idea! I am a chef and a mom and have a food blog. I post some things about cooking with kids and family food that might be of interest to you all. nice blog, congrats! Tagan

February 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTagan Engel

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